Michael Bourn

The Wilson Defensive Awards were announced last night

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We mentioned this last week, but last night the inaugural Wilson Defensive Awards were announced on MLB Network. As we said previously: sponsored awards like this are kind of “whatever,” but in a world where people still take the Gold Glove awards seriously, I’m cool with any viable competitor.

As you’ll recall, there were awards for the best overall defensive team, the best defender in each league, as well as the best defensive player per team.

The results, with the up-front head-smacking due to the fact that the best overall defensive team had its season end because they totally stunk up the NL Wild Card game with poor defense:

BEST OVERALL TEAM – Atlanta Braves
BEST OVERALL IN NL – Michael Bourn
BEST OVERALL IN AL – Mike Trout

TEAM BY TEAM:

AL EAST
Yankees – Robinson Cano
Orioles – JJ Hardy
Red Sox – Dustin Pedroia
Blue Jays – Brett Lawrie
Rays – Jose Molina

AL CENTRAL
Twins – Denard Span
Tigers – Austin Jackson
Royals – Lorenzo Cain
White Sox – Alexei Ramirez
Indians – Jason Kipnis

AL WEST
Mariners – Brendan Ryan
Rangers – Adrian Beltre
Angels – Mike Trout
A’s – Josh Reddick

NL EAST
Phillies – Carlos Ruiz
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Nationals – Adam LaRoche
Braves – Michael Bourn
Mets – David Wright

NL CENTRAL
Cardinals – Yadier Molina
Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
Cubs – Darwin Barney
Astros – Justin Maxwell
Brewers – Carlos Gomez
Reds – Brandon Phillips

NL WEST
Giants – Brandon Crawford
Dodgers – Matt Kemp
Diamondbacks – Aaron Hill
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Padres – Chase Headley

Video: Undercover David Ortiz drives a Lyft in Boston

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David Ortiz did one of those “Undercover Lyft” spots for, well, Lyft, in which famous people disguise themselves while driving passengers around. Yes, they’re ads, but they’re still pretty funny. At least this one was.

Best parts: (1) the woman who says she has two David Ortiz shirts to which Undercover Ortiz responds, “actually, all my shirts are his shirts”; and (2) when Ortiz agrees with someone that baseball games are “so loooong.” Oh, and at one point he tells a woman who said she was going to the Red Sox game that night that he was too. After he unmasked himself, she explains his own joke to him. Which, ooohhkay.

In other news, people who take Lyfts in Boston either don’t watch much baseball, because Ortiz’s costume is NOT very concealing, or else they simply don’t look at their Lyft driver while in the car, at all.

Scouting in Venezuela: “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time”

MIAMI - MARCH 14:  Venezuela fans cheer with a country flag while taking on the Netherlands during round 2 of the World Baseball Classic at Dolphin Stadium on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Ben Badler of Baseball America has a story about how major league scouts who cover Venezuela are unhappy with the rules imposed upon them by the league. Rules, they say, which unreasonably prohibit them from scouting Venezuelan players in centralized, team-controlled locations or, alternatively, flying them to team facilities in the Dominican Republic or elsewhere.

The result: international scouts are forced to travel all over Venezuela to evaluate prospect. And, given how destabilized and dangerous Venezuela has become, they believe their safety is at risk:

“MLB’s rules that limit our ability to travel a Venezuelan guy to the Dominican Republic, that limit our ability to get them in a complex at different ages, all these rules are solely contributing to the risks that all of us are taking traveling from complex to complex, facility to facility in the streets,” said one international director. “Someone is going to get killed. It’s just a matter of time, and it’s on MLB when it happens, because they’re the ones who created these rules.”

As Badler notes, Major League Baseball itself has moved its annual national showcase out of the country due to safety concerns. It will not, however, relax scouting rules — which seem arbitrary on their surface in the first place — in order to make the job of international scouts safer.

It seems that Rob Manfred and the league owe their employees better than this. Or at the very least owe them an explanation why they don’t think they do.